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Laurent Koscielny, a personal farewell. It has been such a great pleasure to watch you

By Tony Attwood

I liked Laurent Koscielny as an Arsenal player and whatever it is that has happened in the last few weeks that has ended with his move back to France, I still like him and will always remember him positively.

And indeed I have sympathy for him, for he missed out on a world cup winners’ medal because he was injured.  What does that do to you mentally when you have put your whole life into football, and you know your time is coming to and end… and you miss out on being in the side that wins the ultimate trophy? I can’t imagine.

I suppose I have a particular affinity with players whom I have watched from start to finish at Arsenal – and that is not as many as one might expect because the occasional time spent overseas, the family committments and other ups and down in modern life all combine to mean that despite my season ticket, for very many players I have seen the start, or the end, or the middle of their Arsenal careers, but not the whole thing.

But in the end all this moving around begins to slow down and yes I’ve had my season ticket right the way through from 2010 to 2019, and not been too interrupted by events, so I’ve watched his performances, with much pleasure.

And not least because it was Laurent who caused me to reveal on Untold in 2014, the trivial fact that I am an accordion player. a revelation not taken lightly but caused by the fact that Koscielny had reportedly acted to save an accordion making factory in his home town.

Also I have never stopped reminding my mate Ian who, when we sat together in the north bank during Koscielny’s first season at Arsenal, said words to the effect that “we have to admit it that Koscielny is simply not good enough.”   I disagreed, and for once I think I was right.

Well, whether he was good enough or not, he became good enough, at least by my reckoning.  And I guess the managers’ too because he played over 350 games for Arsenal.  I rate him not just as a player but also as an organiser and as a captain, a man who gave his all for the club, and a man who always was part of the club.

Which is what makes the dispute that marred the end of his career rather unexpected.  I suspect, but it is not more than that, that the club had said that he could go if a good offer came in for him; that good offer came in and he felt he should be in England to deal with the matter with his agent.  But the club thought at as captain he should be with the squad in America, even if he was not going to play much.   A battle of wills, an unseemly standoff, but Laurent got what he wanted.

And why not after that many games for Arsenal where he really did give his all?

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Maybe, now he has gone, he will be written out of Arsenal’s history as a passing figure, but in truth he was far, far more than that.  And far more than the trophies he won, although they are enough to make any member of the Tottenham squad turn green with envy: three FA Cups, two community shields, league cup runners’ up twice, Europa League runners’ up.  Not a bad haul for a guy from Lorient who cost us around £8.5m.

And even if what happened at the end seemed a little, well, unseemly, I don’t think that was Laurent Koscielny, the real guy.   Let’s not remember the end, but instead remember the start when he said…

“I don’t believe any French player would have refused to come and play for Arsenal. It took me four years to go from the bench of Ligue 2 to Arsenal so it is a great achievement. I have been on the crest of a wave for the last few years. But it is just the beginning; I haven’t proved anything yet. Arsenal is a reference for football.”

Yes, let’s remember that, not any of the stuff, whatever it was, that happened at the end.

Laurent, of course you don’t know who I am, but let me say to you, via the distance between us, it has been an honour to watch your career come to full maturity, and a great pleasure to see you represent Arsenal.

Thank you Laurent Koscielny.

Here’s the record…

Season League games League Goals Cup games Cup Goals European games Euro Goals Total games Total Goals
2010–11 30 2 9 1 4 0 43 3
2011–12 33 2 3 0 6 1 42 3
2012–13 25 2 4 1 5 1 34 4
2013–14 32 2 5 1 9 0 46 3
2014–15 27 3 6 0 6 0 39 3
2015–16 33 4 4 0 7 0 44 4
2016–17 33 2 2 0 8 0 42 2
2017–18 25 2 2 0 6 0 33 2
2018–19 17 3 2 0 10 0 29 3

 

19 comments to Laurent Koscielny, a personal farewell. It has been such a great pleasure to watch you

  • Joseph Ssenyonga

    he will never be a legend to me , legends go a mile apart but no . why on earth Koscielny refused to with the team to USA , that means that he was a player with bad manners .

  • I cannot agree with you more.

    I am also sad to say goodbye to Carl Jenkinson, a player who in the games that I saw him play, always gave his most and did not make any costly errors (remember Koscielny in the league cup final agai8nst Birmingham?).

    I think that we should have kept him as cover for right-back, but under the new regime he does njto fit in.

    I shudder to think what will be left of us when they have finished. Will we become another Leeds?

  • I very much doubt we have anything like the full set of facts and rather suspect the new management team were trying to give a message to all the players that this sort of thing is not on. I suspect that Koscielny had been told that if an offer came in for him from France he could go, providing cover had been secured. The offer came in, and the club said we don’t have the cover yet. And then his agent stepped in and said “my man ain’t going”. I think this is right as the move to France turned up very quickly after the opening incident. And that incident was a great way for Edu and co to give a message to the rest of the team that they don’t take any messing about.

    But more than anything I don’t think people should be judged by one event (unless of course it is murder or somesuch). Most of us do some pretty silly things at different times.

  • Sue

    What a touching message from Jenko… a true gooner ❤

  • Dec

    I think if we were to get a good value and service from every signing as we certainly got from Laurent Koscielny we’d be doing brilliantly.
    Our best and most reliable central defender over the last few years and a good leader for the team. Silly nonsense about commercial tours to USA or videos of changing shirts shouldn’t make us forget the years he gave us.
    Good luck Kos, best wishes to you and yours and thank you for the last 9 years.

    Now let’s go get three points from the Geordies.

  • Gord

    I just think some people have to hate. I don’t know what caused the problems for Koscielny, but he doesn’t deserve the abuse. From fans or ex-players.

    As I mentioned elsewhere, good luck to Koscielny at Bordeaux.

    Good luck to Jenkinson at Forest.

    Good luck to Welbeck at Watford.

  • Dec

    David Luiz ???? Sky sports.

    Now there’s an option worth thinking about ?

  • Menace

    Good luck & farewell all our players that have moved. You gave us your best when you could.

    Jenko you are a legend for that lovely tweet. Rambo, we know how much you loved us and we will not forget what you gave for the Arsenal.

    The banner on the site say ‘manager’ but we don’t have one anymore. We have instead, a coach, who truly is focused on making our squad a team of winners.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Koscielny was an integral part of our team since his arrival , and he had been loyal and faithful to our cause . Although it wasn’t all that a pleasant parting of ways , still most of us will think of him very fondly.

    Good luck to him and Jenko , as well the rest of them who have moved on this season. Hope they do well at their respective clubs , but obviously not against the Arsenal !

  • Nitram

    Gord

    “I just think some people have to hate. I don’t know what caused the problems for Koscielny, but he doesn’t deserve the abuse.”

    And we as fans dont deserve to have the shirt we love thrown in the dirt just because he’s had a little spat with his employer.

    It works both ways.

    I’ve apologised for being ott with my critisism earlier, and I don’t ‘hate’ him.

    But I am disappointed and feel he let both us the fans and himself down.

    But if you think refusing to play in order to force your way out of the club is okay that’s up to you.

    If you think throwing the shirt in the dirt is okay that’s up to you.

    I don’t and I feel it is behaviour worthy of critisism, irrespective of past service.

    Sorry but that’s how I feel.

  • Uzo

    @Tony, so you agree that winning the world cup is the pinnacle of football achievement? Yet you usually wish our players don’t get invited to represent their nations in the tournament.

    @nitram, you seem to usually be abusive to commenters who write in disagreeing with articles on d site. You see that its possible to disagree with the sites view without being a prick/troll right?

  • omgarsenal

    I mirror Tony’s and others appreciation and eulogizing of our departing players and we can add Iwobi to the list as well. Tierney,Luiz,Ceballos, Saliba, Pepe, and Martinelli seem to follow a trend I have been noticing from Emery. They are, with the exception of Luiz, approaching the perfect age to be moulded into a certain style of play that Emery likes. They all have enormous potential and Luiz will add solidity to the central defence and act as a mentor to Chambers and company. Emery has taken on a formidable challenge to mould these new faces and talents into the AFC style and the team chemistry that seems to be developing since he took over as manager/coach.

    To those who are critical of Koscielny’s behaviour over the last few weeks, all I can point out is that most players are mercenaries and have to think of their futures outside football, so I can’t fault them for looking after their own interests ahead of their current club since they’ve done their best for that same club and should be given a certain amount of leeway.

  • Pat

    Thanks for this article, Tony. I was hoping someone would write a proper appreciation and as usual Untold came up with the goods.

  • Ando

    I remember when Kos first got in the team..in the first 1 and a half seasons, it was a matter of
    ‘When is he going to bring out his weekly giant mis-judgement at a crucial point, in THIS game?’
    Good but gaff/error prone
    Then he got REALLY good. Steadied the defence around him, gave mature support to the younger players, led by example. A true hero.
    Let’s be clear..WE are the fans and HE (& all pro footballers) is an employee. Our partiality attaches to a particular club (in our case, the Arsenal) and we see the players as they are expressed in the media through the lens of our own values
    I imagine the fans of Kos’ new club will be delighted with this apparent ‘Superhero-reveal’ image, as would I be if for example, Messi were to tear off a Barca shirt and reveal an Arsenal one underneath.
    Thanks Kos, you did very well here & good luck wherever it is you went.

  • UZo no I don’t think that.

  • Nitram

    Uzo

    Which poster exactly have I insulted and when?

  • Uzo

    @tony, you just called it the ultimate trophy.
    @ Nitram, I’m certain you were very abusive towards a certain tomP, and a few others I don’t remember off heart.

  • Nitram

    Uzo

    FFS how long ago was that ???

    Don’t go round accusing people when you cant back it up because you don’t actually remember.

    Find it or apologise.

  • Nitram

    Uzo

    Honestly the more I think about the more perplexed I am.

    Here we are, august 2019. Debating this and that in a perfectly genial way. Not always agreeing. But that’s opinion for you.

    And out of the blue, rather than enter the debate, you know, by offering an opinion of your own, hopefully supported by some facts to substantiate your opinion, you just appear out of the blue saying “you seem to usually be abusive to commenters who write in disagreeing with articles on d site”.

    When I refute that all you can do is reference another random event which to my memory must of took place at least 3 years ago. Even if it’s true, having to go back that far hardly supports the ‘usually’ accusation does it ?

    I certainly remember my conversations with tomp. We certainly never agreed on anything. And as much as our debates got pretty lively I don’t recall insulting him, or vis versa. In the end I recall deciding it was a pointless debate as we got know where. I’ve no doubt Tomp shared the same opinion.

    If I ‘usually abuse’ posters it should be easy for you to find examples.

    As I say, either support your what you say, as I always do, or retract, it’s as simple as that.

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